Today, on All Things Fulfilling, I’ll report my findings as a casual observer of a book club group from Dorchester County, Maryland.The New York Times bestselling book “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake was discussed the day of the meeting.
In my experience, there are common things readers want to discuss about a book after reading it. The types of critique questions and discourse this East Coast book club had was not so different than any other groups I have witnessed. But, it was evident that each reader had a slightly different point of view about the story, which is why books are worth discussing. Here are some of the ideas the members talked about:
Did the readers relate to the era of this story? Yes. Most in the book group lived through the times this story was set – World War II era.
Were the characters believable? The postmistress character, one reader said “was too ‘rigid’ to be realistic.” Others disagreed saying it was, “part of the job.”
Did the author do a good job with character development? Some said yes. Others, no.
Was the storyline effective in evoking memories for the reader? In the case of this book, the answer was an overwhelming Yes!”
Did the readers like the ending? One “bookie” said admittedly, “it is the author’s prerogative to end the story however they see fit. But, she did not like it.”
Other points made in the discussion:
• More than one reader in the group said they “enjoyed her familiarity of the setting (small town Cape Cod),” but they were not fond of reading about war, they had already lived it vicariously through the stories of their fathers, brothers, friends and uncles.
• Another reader stated the meaning behind the narrative was much bigger than the immediate story. The book made a strong statement that “Life goes on despite war.” Note: I have found that universal lessons that go beyond the immediate story, are what makes for a very marketable book.
• One reader said “none of the stories within the book were finished.” Others defended the fact that the book left “things for the reader to figure out, in their own minds, and they like that in books.”
• The consensus seemed to be that a post office in a small town is still the center of community.
As I sat listening to the women’s discussion, I formed my own opinions about the ladies in the book group. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as I share my general observances of the “bookies.”
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